Art / “Connection, Songlines from Australia’s First Peoples”, National Museum of Australia, until October 9. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY.
FROM the people who created and brought the recent “Van Gogh Alive” multi-sensory experience to Canberra, Grande Experiences in partnership with the National Museum of Australia has developed a mesmerising exhibition titled “Connection, Songlines from Australia’s First Peoples”.
Here in Canberra for four months, the world premiere of a new, captivating art experience, “Connection”, celebrates the spirit of indigenous Australia. The immersive 360-degree, large-scale projections of more than 500 images make viewers feel as though they are living inside an artwork. With innovative light and sound technology, this is visual storytelling on another level.
As you walk around and take in the enveloping images and sounds, the artworks from more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists become one commanding story. Some artists included are Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Albert Namatjira, Tommy Watson, Gabriella Possum, Anna Pitjara and Lin Onus.
The scale of the projections is immense. When standing anywhere in the large space and every wall and even the floor is covered with the same stunning image, your eyes can’t escape the all-encompassing effect this exhibition creates.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s “Earth Creation” is a stunning work by itself. When applied on this massive scale, a viewer feels like they are swimming in the art. This is a unique experience. You get to see art in a whole new way, as it is put together before your eyes.
The Australian company that brings us this project, Grande Experiences, has also brought Van Gogh, DaVinci, Picasso, Dali, and others to the world in their unique concept and design. Beginning in 2006, Grande Experiences has brought its projects to more than 220 million people, in 160 cities in 33 languages. But there is much more to come.
The way these artworks are brought alive, as though they have jumped off their static mediums, has re-voiced the artworks as it opens up Aboriginal art in new ways to new audiences.
The program runs for 35 minutes. The soundtrack is as impressive as the visuals. It is made up of stories, traditional and contemporary songs, spoken word and dance, all wrapped in a sculptured soundtrack that feeds these iconic images into visitors eyes and ears.
Walking across an Emily Kame Kngwarreye artwork is, to say the least, a surreal experience. As the images swirl around you, and the soundtrack pulses, this art becomes a living entity that enthrals and captivates.
Such is the extent of this presentation that, in one exhibition, this represents an entire country of art.
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